A Buckingham Palace catering assistant has admitted to stealing items from Queen Elizabeth's royal residence — and selling them on eBay.
Adamo Canto pleaded guilty to three counts of theft between November 2019 and August 2020 at Westminster Magistrates' Court, according to the BBC. The 37-year-old staffer from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, stole a "significant quantity" of items, which police found at his quarters at the palace's Royal Mews.
Among the stolen items were signed official photographs of Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Canto also took a Companion of Bath medal belonging to the Master of the Household, Vice Admiral Master Tony Johnstone-Burt. Johnstone-Burt said in a statement that he realized the medal was gone when he went to wear it for Trooping the Colour. Canto also stole a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order medal from the locker of former British Army officer Maj Gen Richard Sykes, which was given to him by the Queen in 2010.
Canto stole a royal state banquet photo album of President Donald Trump's visit to the U.K., worth $2,000.
The court learned that 77 items were taken from the palace shop, while pieces were also stolen from staff lockers, the Queen's Gallery shop and Prince Andrew's storeroom.
Prosecutor Simon Maughan told the court that the stolen goods, totaling between $13,000 and $135,000, were listed for sale on eBay. A total of 37 items were sold on the website for "well under" their value, earning Canto $10,000.
Canto took advantage of the coronavirus pandemic this year when he gained more access to offices and other areas that he usually did not frequent.
Canto was released on conditional bail but was warned he faces a possible jail sentence.
Royal staffers faced being laid off this summer as many of Queen Elizabeth’s palaces and castles remained closed amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The staff is employed by the Royal Collection Trust, the charity that runs the opening of the palaces and the accompanying stores. The Trust’s income comes almost entirely from visitor funds in the form of ticket sales and gift shop sales and, with the palaces closed due to coronavirus, the crisis means that tens of millions have been wiped off the expected earnings this year.
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Queen Elizabeth, 94, has not been back at her London residence since March. Instead, she's been spending time with husband Prince Philip, 99, at Windsor Castle, Sandringham estate and Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
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